Protecting Yourself from Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

January 23, 2004 -- Posted at 4:30 p.m.

JONESBORO—In the past few months, carbon monoxide poisoning has claimed the lives of at least three people from Region 8. Already Walmart is reporting that detectors are flying off the shelves.

According to the Consumer Products Safety Commission, approximately 200 people per year are killed by accidental carbon monoxide poisoning, and an additional 5000 people are injured.

Carbon monoxide is a silent killer. It's colorless, odorless and tasteless.

"Anything that burns a petroleum product when it's burning will produce carbon monoxide," said Aaron Keller with the Jonesboro Fire Department

Carbon monoxide producing devices in the home include: fuel fired furnaces, fireplaces and wood stoves, gas stoves, gas dryers, charcoal grills and automobiles. If these appliances and vents are working properly, the small amount of carbon monoxide produced is typically not dangerous. Anything over a 10 percent carbon monoxide level in your home could pose a threat.

"If it's above that, they're going to know it because they're going to have headaches, and nausea, and flu like symptoms," said Keller.

Experts say any kind of carbon monoxide detector will save you and your family from this silent killer, and they do advise that you put one on every floor of your home.

"If you have problems with the furnace already, if you block a vent, it will create more problems," said Keller.

Experts also advise having a maintenance crew check out your furnace before winter starts each year.

"You should vent your exhaust from your furnaces out the roof to get the fumes out," said Keller.

Because not following these simple preventive measures could cost you your life.